JC Decaux, which claims to be the world’s biggest outdoor company, is ramping up its efforts to win the lucrative ten-year Transport for London (TFL) contract, held by US company Clear Channel.
The contract, which includes the capital’s bus shelters, is key to the six-sheet small posters market in the UK. Decaux, through its ‘street furniture’ offering, already has dominant positions in many big cities – recent deals in Europe include Moscow and Cologne – claiming the leading position in 36 of Europe’s biggest 50 cities.
TFL has two giant outdoor contracts to offer. The other is the London Underground, also due to renewal next year, which is held by Exterion Media, formerly CBS Outdoor. But that has proved a vale of tears for CBS/Exterion as the cost of installing digital screens on the underground has mushroomed without the hoped-for increases in revenue.
But the bush shelters contract is more stable and TFL will be hoping for a bumper deal next year. Clear Channel, led by Brit William Eccleshare, is likely to bid again but Decaux, with a market cap of €5.7bn and the leading position in bus shelter advertising worldwide, is likely to prove a formidable contender.
Decaux CEO Jean-Francois Decaux is even reported to have moved to London (doubtless the salubrious Gallic confines of South Kensington) to supervise the bidding.